ALEXANDRIA, Va. — For business owners across the DMV, the pandemic continues to create challenges.
A long-time business owner in Northern Virginia found a way to get over the hump and now she is inspiring other women in the process.
Kathleen Le owns Salon Meraki in Alexandria, Virginia.
"I’ve been doing nails for 25 years. I know! At first I thought it would just be a job, but then I fell in love with the career," said Le.
Le opened her first brick-and-mortar in 2017, after 25 years as a nail technician for high-end salons.
Despite working in this field for more than two decades, the pandemic flipped the rule book.
"Totally upside down, totally upside down," said Le. "There’s no plan, there’s no plan when it comes to the pandemic. We don’t have any plan but to keep the masks on, wash our hands and I keep telling my staff if you’re not feeling well, stay home."
"I’d rather do that, take it slow and be safe," said Le.
Based in Alexandria, Kathleen Le said the community helped support her throughout the pandemic and even expand in 2022. She was able to expand her store about four times in size.
"That wasn’t the plan. Growing was not my plan. Instead, surviving was my plan but when the opportunity came, you just take it and pray," said Le.
As a woman-owned business, Le said it was important to her to give that support right back to others in the community.
"We are a woman-based business so I do take on women who need a lending hand or need to start over and this is a home for women who want to lean on each other to grow," said Le.
The renovated Queen Street location will allow space for 19 pedicure stations, in comparison to the previous six, and 12 manicure stations.
Meraki provides services such as manicures, pedicures, skincare treatments, lash extensions, microblading, and waxing. The salon will also be introducing new micro-needling as well as a HydraFacial.
Le also owns a second salon located at 320 King Street. Meraki was created as a place where clients can retreat and pamper themselves no matter their age, gender, or background.
"We believe when we do the right things, right things will bounce back," said Le.